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You'd best believe that R.J. Allen and Ned Grabavoy are not terrible. Check out these stats!

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Two of the most maligned members of NYCFC's inaugural squad have been key figures in this current three-game winning streak.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

As Sam Elliott famously opined in his opening soliloquy to the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski,

"Sometimes there's a man... I won't say a hero, 'cause what's a hero? Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there."

We aren't here to talk about heroes. Just a couple of men.

The perfect men for their time and place.

Let's recap what fullback R.J. "The Dude" Allen and midfielder Ned "El Duderino" Grabavoy have done to enhance their respective statures over the last month:

  • Grabavoy has started four consecutive games for the first time since June, while Allen has started four straight for the first time in his MLS career.

  • In the 2-1 2-0 win against Toronto on September 16th, Allen provided the winning assist and turned in a match rating of 8.8 according to WhoScored.com, making him their man of the match.

  • On the way to a 2-0 3-2 home victory against San Jose just three days later, Grabavoy scored twice -- his first two in the NYCFC shirt --- and was WhoScored's man of the match for the home team, notching a healthy 8.6 rating.

  • On Saturday night on the road at Vancouver, Allen took 60 touches, nine more than any other NYCFC defender. He and Grabavoy recovered possession a combined fifteen times, only giving up the ball twice. Grabavoy led all players with four aerial duels, with Allen right behind him with three.
So, what does it all mean? Two things, really:
  1. These two Dudes are tough.
  2. These two Dudes care.
There isn't really a stat to measure toughness or "care-itude." But something has been pretty glaring over the last few weeks in NYCFC land.

The team sheet.

Ask yourself this question-- where the hell is Tommy McNamara?

T-Mac, a true blue favorite here at Hudson River Blue, hasn't made a match appearance in exactly one month, when New York City fell to Columbus 2-1 at home. Yes, that Tommy McNamara, the one with five goals and three assists on the year, who served as a valuable link between Angelino and David Villa on the left half of the field during NYCFC's last solid run of form in late summer.

Remember, that Columbus loss on August 29th was the one that spawned Jason Kreis's infamous post-match comments in which he called out his players for lack of commitment. Focus. Want-to.

Well, guess what? McNamara isn't injured, yet he's nowhere to be found. In fact, he hasn't even appeared among the subs since September 12th, when the Boys in Blue fell 2-1 to FC Dallas.

It's not a coincidence that McNamara -- who originally supplanted Grabavoy as the team's premier left-sided midfielder at the end of the spring -- was effectively banished shortly after Kreis made his displeasures public. So, what's happened since then? Well, Frank Lampard started scoring, Andoni Iraola got hurt... and Grabavoy and Allen strapped in for a brutal string of dogfights.



You'd  best believe.

As it stands, the consequences of the last month have been obvious: New York City is still alive in the playoff hunt, pocketing three wins on the trot.

Perhaps the better question to ask is this: do you miss Tommy McNamara out there? If he's manning the left wing at home against San Jose, Grabavoy doesn't score twice. And New York City probably doesn't win.

A couple more stats before we conclude our praise:

  • Over the last two weeks Lucky Ned was nominated for MLS Goal of the Week, and Allen was named to his second MLS Team of the Week. Second!

  • Among NYCFC players with more than 500 minutes played, Allen leads the team in successful tackles per 90 minutes (4.1). No teammate averages more than 2.6!

  • Grabavoy (56) trails only the indomitable Andrew Jacobson among NYCFC midfielders for most clearances + blocks + interceptions on the year. Yep, he's ahead of Mix Diskerud, Kwadwo Poku, and McNamara.

  • At 6.5 per ninety minutes, Allen leads all non-center backs on the squad in clearances + blocks + interceptions.
This team might not make the playoffs. Mathematically, their chances are slim (SportsClubStats.com gives the Boys in Blue a hefty 2.3% chance to qualify). But in this scratchin'-and-clawin'-est time of the year, you need a handful of guys that can throw down and fight.

Call me crazy, but if that's the goal, this club needs a heaping dose of R-Jay and Lucky Ned.

Sometimes, there's a man. A real "El Duderino."

Other times, there are two.